Thursday, January 24, 2013

Humboldt Penguin


Humboldt Penguin | The Humboldt penguin, also called Peruvian Penguin, or Patranca is a South American penguin, which breeds in coastal Peru and Chile. The closest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin. Humboldt penguin is named after the cold water swims in the current, which in turn is named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer. They enjoy the warmer climate compared with many other species of penguins out there. They live on the rocky areas around the banks.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Aves
Order:     Sphenisciformes
Family:     Spheniscidae
Genus:     Spheniscus
Species:     S. humboldti

Humboldt penguins are medium-sized penguin with disproportionately large heads, black back and tail, and a black band across the chest that runs down the body under the flippers on the feet black. The face is black, but separated from the head and neck by a white border. The strong bill is black with a white band at the tip and the lower jaw has a fleshy pink-colored base extending to the front of the eyes. Females are slightly smaller than males, but are otherwise similar. Young birds are mostly slate gray on the head and back, white on the front, and lack the bold double line of adults.

Humboldt penguins in the past heavily hunted for their meat, oil and skins and suffered from unsustainable egg collection. Currently, the major risks to the Humboldt penguins come from the man over-harvesting of fish stocks, particularly anchovies, and the utilization of the birds' guano beds, use of the mineral-rich guano for fertilizer. The removal of the guano deprives the birds of the construction of nesting holes and let the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators and weather.

The warm temperatures, where the Humboldt penguins live, they do not interfere with the migration process. The physical appearance of these penguins is very much the same for both men and women. It is from observing their behavior is that they are able to distinguish from each other. Both sexes are very social in their colony. They have complex communication sounds that researchers are still a lot to learn about. By means of image and sound they are able to recognize each other as independent beings. The whole colony works together to ensure protection from their enemies to offer.

You may be surprised to discover how easily the Humboldt penguin is able to glide through the water. They can move at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. This is how they go about feeding on small fish and krill that live in water. They do not chew their food quickly, instead of swallowing. These penguins are popular exhibit in zoos for many years and are known to live for up to 30 years in captivity. They rarely reach this age in the wild.

At present, the Humboldt penguin is considered highly vulnerable. The numbers are not low enough to be considered as endangered or threatened. However, the numbers continue to drop due to fishing in the area. That is their source of food and it is becoming less available. They are often injured or destroyed in fishing nets that also. Another reason that they drop in numbers is due to their natural habitat is destroyed. Changes resulting from the climate continues to reducing their number too. For example when an El Nino occurs things are definitely out of balance for them. There is no more than 12,000 of them remaining at this time.

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